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Survey shows camps, retreats have touched most Presbyterians

December 11, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa

A May 2012 survey of more than 2,100 Presbyterians indicates that a substantial majority are very or somewhat likely to attend a retreat or camp activity that their congregation organizes or publicizes.

Kevin Cullum, executive director of Camp Wyoming, a ministry of East Iowa Presbytery, sent along results of the Presbyterian Panel’s May 2012 survey. 922 teaching elders responded, as did 796 ruling elders and 472 church members.

The most recent survey explored spiritual growth experiences and church retreats in four areas:

  • Most significant learning or spiritual growth experience
  • Faith development past and future
  • Preferences for church resources and retreats
  • Retreat and camp participation

Among the findings:

  • About one in five members, two in five ruling elders and three in five pastors said they personally participated with other people from their congregation in a retreat or camp activity during the past two years.
  • Helping plan a retreat or camp activity for their congregation or a group within the congregation is something that about half the pastors said they’d done in the past two years. But only 8 percent of members and 17 percent of ruling elders had been involved in such planning during the same time period.
  • The reported likelihood of attending a retreat or camp activity in the next two years is greater among young members, ruling elders and pastors than among their older peers. Nearly 80 percent of respondents 40 and younger said they were very likely or somewhat likely, while a little more than 40 percent of those 70 or older saying it was likely they would.

Mike Ferguson is a ruling elder at the United Presbyterian Church of Lone Tree (Iowa), a reporter for “The Muscatine Journal”― the newspaper where Mark Twain got his start ― editor of “Out and About, the enewsletter of the Presbytery of East Iowa, and a frequent contributor to Presbyterian News Service.

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